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Retail sales growth slows to 4.4% in September

In September 2018, the volume of sales in retail shops increased by 4.4% according to raw data, and by 5.4% adjusted for calendar effects, compared to the same month of the previous year, according to a first estimate of monthly retail figures by the Central Statistical Office (KSH).

According to the KSH, the monthly growth rate slowed from 6.3% in August 2018.

The volume of sales, adjusted for calendar effects, rose by 3.1% in specialized and non-specialized food shops, by 7.6% in non-food retail, and by 5.6% in automotive fuel retail.

In January–September 2018, retail sales rose an unadjusted 6.3% and an adjusted 6.5% compared to the first three quarters of 2017. Adjusted food sales were up 4.0%, non-food sales climbed 9.6%, and fuel sales rose 6.9% year-on-year in the first nine months.

Speaking to state news agency MTI, analyst Orsolya Nyeste of Erste Bank said that the September data are impressive in spite of the slowdown, noting that consumption remains a key driver for economic growth. She forecast strong retail sales growth in coming months, adding that the annual growth rate could return to the 4-6% range due to high base data in the fourth quarter of last year.

Gergely Suppan of TakarékBank predicted retail sales growth of 6.3% this year, compared to 5.6% in 2017.

The KSH will publish a second, more detailed reading of the September data on November 23.